Sesame seeds date back as early as 1700 B.C., and come from one of the earliest plants grown by humans specifically for its seeds. "Open sesame," the famous phrase from the tale Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, reflects a distinctive feature of the sesame seed pod – it bursts open when it reaches maturity, revealing the seeds.
Sesame seeds are available in two colours, white and black, which are each from a different variety of sesame plant. They both have a nutty flavour, but the black seeds have a slightly earthier taste. Sesame seeds are used heavily in Middle Eastern food (for example in za’atar and hummus) and also in China and Japan where they are used to add crunchy texture to dishes. Sesame oil is used widely as well. Dry roasting sesame seeds before use brings out their flavour significantly. We sell raw black and white sesame seeds, as well as toasted white seeds.
Sesame seeds have a high oil content so they will go bad if they are kept too long. You should buy small amounts that you will be able to use within a couple of months. We recommend storing sesame seeds in the refrigerator to help keep them fresh.